• David Dickman

Three Questions To Ask Before You Book A Wedding DJ

We've all been there, at a wedding, hungry, wondering if the Bride and Groom will join the reception anytime soon so you can get after that buffet. I bet you can remember how much you resented the Bride and Groom for holding that buffet hostage just so they could take pictures for 2 hours after the ceremony.

Or, have you ever been at a wedding reception dinner that just dragged on, and on, and on... never really picking up momentum, despite the DJ's best effort? The wedding where the Bride and Groom really want everyone to have fun, but can't ever get it there?

This happens, a lot, and it pisses me off, A LOT.

Why does this happen? Who's to blame? Could these weddings have gone any other way?

I believe that the burden of responsibility for how "fun" a wedding is falls on the DJ, the Bride and Groom, and in special occasions, the Wedding Planner. Believe me, this is not a popular opinion. The wedding industry is valued somewhere over $70 billion dollars, and getting in on that industry is easier than ever thanks in part to the Internet. So the following questions are ones that will help you find the best DJ for your budget, educate you on this crazy industry so you can book vendors with confidence, and shed some light on how a "fun" wedding really isn't that difficult to make happen.

1.) What is my Budget, Wedding Date and Venue?

You just got engaged and you have all the excitement. Then by the time the couple calls me, no more excitement, just pure dread about planning this wedding. "David, planning a wedding is way harder that we thought it would be," they tell me.

The truth is a wedding is easy to plan, it's just unfamiliar to you.

What you need is someone to work with - a wedding vendor worth their salt - that will help you with this process. Again, planning a wedding is easy, but only if you work with the right people. You want to work with the best people that will help you, right? Well yeah, but you have to start somewhere, and you start with establishing a budget. Why? Because it's better to establish a target budget from the start than dealing with the stress of accidentally going over budget. You don't have to go all out, just write down some general categories: Venue, Photographer, DJ, Caterer/Food, Bar/Alcohol, Decorations, Rentals (tables, chairs, linens). You should be able to set a budget within a weekend, if not in one night.

Next up, pick the date. People argue that you should pick date at the same time as the venue. You can, but I've been DJing for 13 years and every couple that picked the date first, then the venue, had less stress. Finally, do not choose the venue first, then the date, because you're gonna have a bad time.

When you book the venue, make sure you keep some important details close by:

  • Time you can enter the venue and start decorating/getting ready

  • When the music needs to stop

  • When you need need to have the venue restored (no people, no decorations).

2.) How Do You Price Your Services?

At this point you have a budget, date and venue. Your next step is hiring a Photographer. Why? I think the best reason is to take advantage of a discount for bundling the engagement pictures with your wedding package. I'm a fan of using the same photographer so you can get a feel of how they work. This makes it so your wedding day is just picking up where you left off and generally makes things easier. Once you hire a photographer you'll have a good idea how crazy the wedding industry prices things. I'm in the industry and I am ashamed the way they made something so simple, so damn confusing. I'll stick to DJing for an example as this should be your next vendor you hire.

Typically a DJ charges a flat fee for a package, then additional dollars for extra hours of music. Example is $____ for ___ hours, plus $____ per hour after that; also, $__ for ____(equipment) that you need (but is somehow extra).

True story, at my own wedding, the DJ shut the music down looked at me to pay them more money in front of everyone, to continue to the music. They held the wedding hostage. I can only think of two reasons to establish your pricing with this weird formula, money and (a lack of) passion. Why else would you charge in such a crazy manner?

At Boise Mobile DJ, we charge by the event, not by the hour. We don't charge you extra for wireless microphones, because you need those microphones for the wedding and reception! We don't charge you extra for more hours of music, we have no hidden fees or service charges. We quote one price, the price you pay us, for however long your event runs.

I get asked this all the time, "What happens if our event runs long?"

Well that tells me that it's a pretty damn fun wedding, right? if everyone is wanting to party later than planned, why wouldn't I want to be a part of that? We have a passion for DJing, for producing great events. And isn't the point of DJing to facilitate a cerebration? To have someone there who makes sure your event goes as you expected? If that's the whole point, and I believe that to be the point - then why wouldn't a DJ want to stick around? You're already there, why do you need more money? Are you that greedy? Is your pricing that low that you have to stoop to that level to make more?

Again, I have a serious issue with DJ pricing. So to help you get the right DJ for your wedding, ask a DJ, "how do you price your services?

Typically we get asked a variation of, "how much do you cost"? To quote we need, date, venue, when you need music to start and when it stops. We aren't typically provided the information we need to quote, so we have to get more information. So instead of going through that very long quoting process, ask how they charge instead. I love this question because it the way they answer the question is just as valuable as the information they provide. Here is how I answer that question:

At Boise Mobile DJ we charge a fixed-fee for service. That means you don't pay any hidden or extra fees. What we quote is what you pay.

3.) How Will You Meet My Expectations?

To me, there is nothing worst that an OK wedding. For years I struggled with weddings that never seemed to liven up. There were times where I would give it my all to get a client a really fun and exciting wedding, filled with dancing and joy. I had such a hard time with that until I heard dating advice that changed the way I approached weddings entirely.

"Unmet expectations = unmet needs."

I was trying to make weddings what I wanted them to be, not what the client wanted them to be. For example, there was a couple that really liked the Chicago Bears football team. I'm talking, both sides of the family were REALLY INTO THE BEARS. They new the Bears were playing the night of their wedding. So we coordinated the wedding so that watching the first half of the game followed toasts, the grand exit was during halftime, and they got to finish the last half of the game at their favorite bar. To me, this wan't the most ideal wedding, but it didn't matter because it wasn't my wedding.

It's the DJ's responsibility to find out what the couple wants for their wedding and honestly tell them if they can make that happen. This marks a DJ that you want to hire, one that will put honesty before profits.

At Boise Mobile DJ we find out our client's expectations by asking them to describe their perfect wedding and reception only using four words. Typically, our clients say: FUN, Stress Free, Party, Drunk, Dancing, Togetherness, Family Celebration, SMOOTH. These "four words" are the aim. Everything we do as DJs, is in pursuit of those four words. If a client wants stress free, we go out of our way to make that happen. As an example, the line at the bar was long, so I jumped behind the bar and started helping to help get everyone drinks so we could move on to the toasts.

At Boise Mobile DJ, DJ Freddy and I are experts at both DJing and Event Production/Planning. All our packages come with Day-Of Coordination. We "specialize" in fun weddings, but we realize that in order to have fun, the event needs to run smoothly. So we work with our clients, to build a timeline before the event. We work with them to show them the "butterfly-effect" of moving one element, let's say it's the Special Dances (1st Dance, Father/Daughter, Mother/Son), from after dinner to right after the Grand Entrance (before dinner). This allows the groom to eat like a savage and let the bride eat BBQ without worrying about getting sauce on her dress before the dances. Win/Win. We plan, then we operate and execute, and we love doing it!

Ask a DJ how they will meet your expectations. Again, how they answer the question is just as telling as the answer is. I believe that anyone can learn how to DJ a wedding. But DJing a wedding, meeting all expectations and having your friends be jealous of your wedding because it went so well.... that takes years of experience, and that's what we do at Boise Mobile DJ.

Wherever you're at in the planning process, contact us today to see how we can help. I promise you that after one call or meeting, you'll feel better about your wedding.

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